A top gender equality awards show held in the UAE has been branded a big joke after all the winners were men.

Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the vice-president of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Dubai, awarded the prestigious medals on Sunday night.

The categories included ‘best government entity supporting gender balance’, ‘best federal authority supporting gender balance’ and ‘best gender balance initiative’.

The awards eventually went to the finance ministry, federal statistics authority and ministry of human resources — who were all represented by men on the night.

Lt Gen Sheikh Saif bin Zayed al-Nahyan was also recognised for the ‘best personality supporting gender balance’ after pushing to implement maternity leave in the UAE’s military.

The ceremony was labelled “ridiculous” and “misogynistic” on social media, the Guardian reported.

A tweet posted to celebrate the winners was met with derision with comments including: “Wow really nailed the diversity there. One of those dudes was wearing gray.”

“Seriously UAE? This is ridiculous,” posted another online critic.

“They’re too misogynistic to understand the hypocrisy,” one angry tweet read while another added “Something not quite right about this.”

However, officials have defended the under-fire Gender Balance Index awards.

The Dubai media office said: “We are proud of the success of Emirati women and their role is central to shaping the future of the country.

“Gender balance has become a pillar in our government institutions.”